Donald Trump promises USA citizenship for H-1B visa workers

Donald Trump promises USA citizenship for H-1B visa workers

Donald Trump promises USA citizenship for H-1B visa workers

US President Donald Trump on Friday said major changes are coming to the H-1B visa programme, which has become a popular gateway for Indians to the US, that will offer a potential path to citizenship to those holding it.

"We want to encourage talented and highly skilled people to pursue career options in the USA", he added.

While Trump typically depicts undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers attempting to enter the country through Mexico as criminals and terrorists, he frequently praises those applying for H-1Bs, who must hold a bachelor's degree or higher.

Donald Trump campaigned for president on a promise to crack down on immigrants, who he said took jobs away from United States citizens.

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"Mr. president, what about American tech workers who are being displaced by H-1B guest workers and recent college grads who can't find jobs in STEM fields?"

A draft proposal circulated in January to review regulations, find ways to allocate visas more efficiently and ensure that beneficiaries are "the best and the brightest".

Doug Rand, a former White House official in the Obama administration who worked on immigration issues, said the proposed changes to the lottery selection process were at best modest and at worst could cause chaos.

It wasn't immediately clear whether Trump was referring to recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the so-called Dreamers, illegal immigrants brought here as children who have seen their futures thrown into question after his decision to end the program past year. The president has threatened to call a national emergency if Congress doesn't reach an agreement to fund his border wall.

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The announcement of a revision in H1-B visa rules comes at a time when the USA government has reached the 21st day of shutdown on Friday, with no solution of reopening the government in the near future.

Trump has also derided visas granted to family members of US residents or citizens as "chain migration", and backed a Republican proposal in 2017 that would have slashed legal immigration in half. He said his group, which was founded by tech executives including Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, remains "skeptical of vague pronouncements given the administration's track record".

Under the proposed rule, companies seeking foreign workers on H-1B visa - under the Congressional mandated annual caps - would first have to electronically register with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) during a designated registration period. But the visa program has also drawn criticism for being used heavily by foreign outsourcing companies that squeeze out American firms.

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